The journey to a successful business website

Dorie Fain, BridgeTower Media Newswires

Anyone who has been through the process of creating, re-creating, writing, editing, updating or doing anything related to a business website already knows much of what I am going to share in this month’s article.

When I started my business in 2009, I was fortunate to have a page D-1 feature in the Wall Street Journal that came out during the very first week that I launched. Over the course of a weekend, we hired an HTML designer in China to create a single webpage website that would provide evidence of our existence in response to this incredible media opportunity.

Thankfully, that page did the trick until 2010, when that same developer helped to create some additional pages that remained our company website until it became clear that HTML would prove to be too cumbersome to maintain. So in 2012, we had a variety of fits and starts with various designers who specialized in Wordpress sites. This was to be an easier platform for us to maintain and to update content as desired. It had a fresh look and really brought the look and feel of a company vision to a modern site.

I used to joke that I would waste $2,000 several times over trying to get to the right designer who would understand the intimate nuanced needs of a boutique financial firm geared toward serving women. But this did become the reality. I would hire one designer after the next, and then I would have these very emotional reactions when I felt they just didn’t get what we do and who we serve. I liken the feeling for me to showing up at a party wearing the completely wrong attire. I would not settle for anything less than what I felt was the just right feeling that we wanted our prospective clients, trusted advisers and clients to experience.

Later in 2012, as our business had matured enough to have a professional staff of employees, I had my COO take over this project. She has a marketing background, and suddenly what was a stressful, tense experience became one of clarity and purpose. The designer she worked with really got the essence of our work, and a new site was created that received rave reviews. It was low-maintenance and fresh – we would continue to hear such compliments on the site that I thought we would never need to change a thing.

Until 2015 came around and two significant things happened.

The mobile takeover

The first was that mobile devices took over. The Wordpress site we had was not mobile-friendly so when someone would pull up our website on their smartphone or tablet all of the content was distorted and not easily viewed in one snapshot of the screen. The second thing that happened, which was even more disruptive, was that our site was hacked by a trolling internet virus. It turns out that internet security takes on many forms. Little did we know, and the designer failed to explain to us, that hackers create trolling virus robotic software to find gaps in the Wordpress versions that will take your website hostage. The point is only malice. No information can be used by doing this, no monetary value obtained. Simply a disruption — a random act of internet violence. To a business, this is a major disruption. We quickly hired an expert to manage the crisis and to restore our good standing on all of the search engines that had flagged our site as not safe for viewing.

The result of these two events led us to another round of website creation. Each time this happens, it forces a business to rethink the mission, value, focus, intended audience and many other factors to consider when directing a message to the outside world about what you as a business are uniquely qualified to do. Thankfully, my COO, also highly skilled in marketing and getting things done, took over the process. She hired Noah Urban of  Mazuzu. All I would hear about was how much she loved working with Noah because not only was he an on-the-ball, excellent communicator and deadline maker – he was funny – which made an otherwise difficult process actually enjoyable. Right on deadline and under budget, we just launched our mobile-ready, security-monitored, brand new, beautiful website. I am so proud of this site, the most mature of all of the previous versions, this site really embodies &Wealth and all that we are.

To those who have been thinking about but delaying a website project, I feel your pain. I know the avoidance and how easy it is to ignore this important business tool. Though I can say on the other side that when done well, the value that a proper website brings to your efforts to grow and sustain a company are invaluable. Thank goodness I have an amazing team that made it happen and now I have the benefit of showing it off … until the next new thing that we don’t know will influence the way websites operate and we are at it again.

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Dorie Fain is the founder and CEO of &Wealth, a boutique financial advisory firm dedicated to helping women who are recreating their lives, with offices in New York City and Baltimore.

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